Managers' interview invitation decisions about older job applicants: Human capital, economic conditions and job demands

Jaap Oude Mulders, Kène Henkens, Yihao Liu, Joop Schippers, Mo Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Older job applicants are vulnerable to stereotype-related bias in the recruitment process. In the current study, we examined how managers' job interview invitation decisions regarding older job applicants are influenced by applicants' human capital-related characteristics, general economic conditions and managers' perceptions of changes in organisational job demands. Data were collected in two waves of a vignette experiment, three years apart, among a sample of 211 Dutch managers from various organisations. Multi-level analysis showed that managers were more likely to invite older job applicants who had matching qualifications, were employed at the time of application and came with recommendations. In addition, managers' propensity to invite older job applicants was higher in better economic conditions. The effects of recommendations were moderated by the general economic conditions and changes in organisational job demands, such that a recommendation from another employer was especially influential in bad economic conditions, while a recommendation from an internal employee was especially influential when job demands had increased. The results emphasise the importance of considering the organisational and economic context in understanding the recruitment of older workers. The findings also suggest that older workers, employers and policy makers should invest in older workers' human capital to protect their employability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)839-864
Number of pages26
JournalAgeing and Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018


  • general economic conditions
  • hiring
  • human capital
  • job demands
  • older workers
  • personnel selection
  • recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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